Hurting those who help: Development and validation of a victim confl ict scale
Background: Workplace conflict is increasingly recognized as a common and harmful workplace stressor. However, despite anecdotal research evidence, researchers have relatively neglected to study the conflict that might occur between first responders and victims of emergency situations. This dearth of research may be due to the lack of an empirically validated scale measuring this conflict. As such, the first goal of the current study was to create and validate a victim conflict scale. Following, the second goal of the current study was to empirically investigate some possible negative outcomes of victim conflict, including burnout, turnover intentions, and job satisfaction. Methods: To create the Victim Conflict Scale, items were generated by meeting with focus groups of first responder firefighters, and paired down through working with another focus group and content analyses, yielding 17 total items. These items, as part of a larger survey project, were administered to a sample of 201 firefighters. Results: In terms of findings, from a psychometric standpoint, the Victim Conflict Scale seems to function well. Additionally, based on a structural equation modeling analysis, the initial evidence provided support that victim conflict is negatively associated with important employee outcomes. Conclusion: These results indicate that victim conflict is an important workplace stressor for this first responders, and the Victim Conflict Scale can be used in future research to investigate the effects of victim conflict, as well as to design interventions surrounding this construct.